America, You’ve Been Blacklisted: McCarthyism Refashioned for a New Age (by John W. Whitehead)

  • It doesn’t even seem to matter what the issue is anymore (racism, Confederate monuments, Donald Trump, COVID-19, etc.): modern-day activists are busily tearing down monuments, demonizing historic figures, boycotting corporations for perceived political transgressions, and using their bully pulpit to terrorize the rest of the country into kowtowing to their demands. All the while, the American police state continues to march inexorably forward. This is how fascism, which silences all dissenting views, prevails.
  • After years of fighting in and out of the courts to keep their 87-year-old name, the NFL’s Washington Redskins have bowed to public pressure and will change their name and team logo to avoid causing offense. The new name, not yet announced, aims to honor both the military and Native Americans. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a delegate to the House of Representatives who supports the name change, believes the team’s move “reflects the present climate of intolerance to names, statues, figments of our past that are racist in nature or otherwise imply racism [and] are no longer tolerated.” Present climate of intolerance, indeed.
  • Yet it wasn’t a heightened racial conscience that caused the Redskins to change their brand. It was the money. The team caved after its corporate sponsors including FedEx, PepsiCo, Nike and Bank of America threatened to pull their funding. So much for that U.S. Supreme Court victory preventing the government from censoring trademarked names it considers distasteful or scandalous. Who needs a government censor when the American people are already doing such a great job at censoring themselves and each other, right?
  • This is also the overlooked part of how oppression becomes systemic: it comes about as a result of a combined effort between the populace, the corporations and the government. McCarthyism worked the same way. What started with Joseph McCarthy’s headline-grabbing scare tactics in the 1950s about Communist infiltrators of American society snowballed into a devastating witch hunt once corporations and the American people caught the fever. McCarthyism was a contagion, like the plague, spreading like wildfire among people too fearful or weak or gullible or paranoid or greedy or ambitious to denounce it for what it was: an opportunistic scare tactic engineered to make the government more powerful.
  • McCarthy, a young Republican senator, grasped the opportunity to make a name for himself by capitalizing on the Cold War paranoia of the time. In a speech in February 1950, McCarthy claimed to have a list of over 200 members of the Communist Party “working and shaping the policy of the U.S. State Department.” The speech was picked up by the Associated Press, without substantiating the facts, and within a few days the hysteria began. McCarthy specialized in sensational and unsubstantiated accusations about Communist infiltration of the American government, particularly the State Department. He also targeted well-known Hollywood actors and directors, trade unionists and teachers. Many others were brought before the inquisitional House Committee on Un-American Activities for questioning. “McCarthyism” eventually smeared all the accused with the same broad brush, whether the evidence was good, bad or nonexistent. The parallels to the present movement cannot be understated.
  • Even now, with modern-day McCarthyism sweeping the nation and America’s own history being blacklisted, I have to wonder what this sudden outrage and crisis of conscience is really all about. Certainly, anyone who believes that the injustices, cruelties and vicious callousness of the U.S. government are unique to the Trump Administration has not been paying attention.
  • This is what is referred to as creeping normality, or a death by a thousand cuts. It’s a concept invoked by Pulitzer Prize-winning scientist Jared Diamond to describe how major changes, if implemented slowly in small stages over time, can be accepted as normal without the shock and resistance that might greet a sudden upheaval. Diamond’s concerns related to Easter Island’s now-vanished civilization and the societal decline and environmental degradation that contributed to it, but it’s a powerful analogy for the steady erosion of our freedoms and decline of our country right under our noses.
  • The same could be said of the America today: it, too, is being reduced to a barren graveyard by a populace so focused on their immediate needs that they are failing to preserve freedom for future generations.
  • We’ve already torn down the rich forest of liberties established by our founders. It has vanished slowly, over the decades. Those who warned against the dangers posed by too many laws, invasive surveillance, militarized police, SWAT team raids and the like have been silenced and ignored. They stopped teaching about freedom in the schools. Few Americans know their history. And even fewer seem to care that their fellow Americans are being jailed, muzzled, shot, tasered, and treated as if they have no rights at all. The erosion of our freedoms happened so incrementally, no one seemed to notice. Only the older generations, remembering what true freedom was like, recognized the difference. Gradually, the freedoms enjoyed by the citizenry became fewer, smaller and less important. By the time the last freedom falls, no one will know the difference.
  • This is how tyranny rises and freedom falls: with a thousand cuts, each one justified or ignored or shrugged over as inconsequential enough by itself to bother, but they add up. Each cut, each attempt to undermine our freedoms, each loss of some critical right—to think freely, to assemble, to speak without fear of being shamed or censored, to raise our children as we see fit, to worship or not worship as our conscience dictates, to eat what we want and love who we want, to live as we want—they add up to an immeasurable failure on the part of each and every one of us to stop the descent down that slippery slope.
  • The contagion of fear that McCarthy helped spread with the help of government agencies, corporations and the power elite is still poisoning the well, whitewashing our history, turning citizen against citizen, and stripping us of our rights.
  • America is approaching another reckoning right now, one that will pit our commitment to freedom principles against a level of fear-mongering that is being used to wreak havoc on everything in its path.

https://thedailycoin.org/2020/07/14/america-youve-been-blacklisted-mccarthyism-refashioned-for-a-new-age/

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